Man behind firm that invented thumb drive fined $80,000 for failing to announce transactions

Singaporean Henry Tan was fined $80,000 after pleading guilty to two charges under the Securities and Futures Act. ST PHOTO: WONG KWAI CHOW

SINGAPORE - Despite being involved in payments that amounted to over US$10.5 million (S$14.3 million), Singaporean Henry Tan failed to disclose these transactions made between his mainboard-listed company and two other companies.

Tan, the founder of Trek 2000 International, the company behind the invention of the thumb drive, even attended audit committee meetings at which the topic of such transactions were under review.

On Monday (Aug 24), the 63-year-old, who was also known as Henn Tan, was fined $80,000 after pleading guilty to two charges under the Securities and Futures Act.

Four other charges were taken into consideration, and he also faces nine other outstanding charges which are scheduled for a pre-trial conference on Sept 10.

Tan, who was represented by Drew & Napier lawyers Daniel Cai and Wesley Chan, stepped down in May 2018 as chief executive of the information technology solutions provider.

The court heard that while he was the chief executive, Trek 2000 International's subsidiaries sold and purchased products with a total value of $1.21 million to S-Com Solutions HK in 2010 and $13.11 million to T-Data Systems in 2013.

Various electronic parts were transacted between the companies and Trek 2000 International.

Tan's son held 80 per cent of T-Data Systems shares while Tan was the sole shareholder of S-Com HK at the time, making both companies interested persons in relation to Trek 2000 International.

Being a mainboard-listed company, the group was required to immediately announce these transactions since the aggregate value of all transactions with each company that financial year was 3 per cent or more of the group's latest tangible assets.

Two others, Gurcharan Singh, then the chief financial officer of Trek 2000 International, and Poo Teng Pin, then the executive director, were earlier charged for related offences.

Remote video URL

Poo pleaded guilty to a charge of failing to disclose seven interested person transactions with T-Data and was fined $20,000.

Mr Cai argued that since the charges his client faced are identical to Poo's, a $20,000 fine should be the starting point for each charge.

However Deputy Public Prosecutor Tan Ee Kuan argued that Tan was more culpable and "reckless, or grossly negligent" since the topic of interested person transactions was brought to his attention at the meetings, but he did not disclose them.

District Judge Ronald Gwee agreed with the prosecution that Tan's sentence should be "scaled higher" than Poo, who faced fewer charges, and sentenced Tan to a fine of $35,000 for the offence relating to T-Data and $45,000 for the offence relating to S-Com HK.

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.